Staff Reporter

Allocation for creating restrooms in public places

Facilities at hospitals to provide privacy for women

Rs.7 crore to buy mammography machine at RCC

Thiruvananthapuram: Gender budgeting has been initiated in the State and a total of Rs.620 crore, which is about 8.5 per cent of the Plan, is to be set aside solely for women's schemes this year, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has said.

Presenting the State budget in the Assembly, Dr. Isaac said all departments would strive to develop special schemes for women and that efforts would be made to consciously incorporate gender concerns even in the general projects.

For the first time, funds have been set aside in the budget for creating restrooms and toilet facilities for women in public places. The Finance Minister pointed out in his speech that many bus stands, markets and public places and even government offices did not have adequate basic facilities for women. A sum of Rs.8 crore had been set aside for the KSRTC and Rs.2.5 crore for the PWD to create these facilities.

Dr. Isaac also declared that 160 offices of the Circle Inspectors of Police and 43 Jana Maithri police stations would be transformed into women-friendly institutions.

He also set aside Rs.2.5 crore for creating necessary basic facilities for women in these institutions as well as to provide emergency medical assistance to women who are victims of violence.

He said special facilities would be set up at hospitals to provide privacy to women. However, there was no mention of any fund set aside for the same.

The Regional Cancer Centre has been allotted Rs.7 crore for purchasing equipment, including digital mammography machine, for the early detection of breast cancer in women.

The budget also mentions an allocation of Rs.1 crore for emergency assistance to women victims of atrocities, a sum of Rs.50 lakh for counselling and another Rs.1.35 crore for setting up short stay homes for women.

For constructing hostels for girls and working women, a sum of Rs.2 crore has been set aside. Dr. Isaac also raised the financial assistance to Kudumbasree from Rs.30 crore to Rs.50 crore.

He said that urgent action would be initiated to identify new employment opportunities for women and modernise the existing domestic occupations. A unit for making pandanus-based products would be set up at Kodungallur, recognising the initiative of a women's enterprise at Kottappuram in manufacturing excellent products from pandanus, Dr. Isaac said.

He also announced that a scheme for self-employment of widows and women, who were separated from their husbands, and self-employment units for women in the handicrafts sector would be launched soon.

Women's groups under the food security scheme would be given a sum of Rs.4 crore. The allocation for sectors like coir, khadi, cashew and handloom, which employ women in large numbers, has been enhanced substantially.

Ten women's colleges would get a sum of Rs.2 crore for giving computer training. The Finishing School will get Rs.1 crore and nursing schools will also get enhanced allocation.

Dr. Isaac also gave a special allocation of Rs.1.25 crore to the Kudumbasree for a gender status study planned in the State, which will be the largest non-formal gender study in Kerala. The Gender Awareness Programme also gets an allocation of Rs.3.5 crore.